Wimminz – celebrating skank ho's everywhere

July 8, 2017

Flawed Science

Filed under: Wimminz — wimminz @ 9:46 pm

I have always hated SF that wasn’t scientific, I like a good story as much as the next guy, and for the sake of a good story I’m prepared to suspend disbelief as much as the next guy… but.

SF always draws parallels to the early age of sail and six month voyages to distant lands etc etc, yeah yeah and yeah as far as it goes, then we have the age of steam and then diesels and then aeroplanes, and you know what changed?

The amount of energy expended.

In a sailing ship you expend the energy to make the ship and sails, and the wind does the rest, everything from there on up is more energy.

***LOTS*** more energy.

If a “warp drive through hyperspace” is possible it’s going to cut the time versus a ballistic transit from one star system to another, and versus a thrust transit from one star system to another, it’s not going to magically use less energy as well.

Let’s take 10 LY as an average star system to star system distance.

Light travels 300,000 KM/sec and there are 31.5 million  (approx) seconds in a year so 1 LY is approx 9,450,000,000,000 KM in 1 LY

If we can boost our ship to 100 KM/sec then the journey (excluding accel and deccel time) is 94,500,000,000 seconds per LY, or approx 3,000 years journey time.

  • So
  • 100 KM/sec is 3,000 years per LY
  • 1,000 KM/sec is 300 years per LY
  • 10.000 KM/sec is 30 years per LY
  • 100,000 KM/sec is 3 years per LY
  • 1,000,000 KM/sec is 110 days per LY
  • 10,000,000 KM/sec is 11 days per LY

The two sets of numbers in red are of course faster than light speed and as far as we know impossible in real space/time…

3 years journey time per light year travelled is *just* feasible, so excluding accel and deccel 12 years to Alpha Centauri

Now it’s simple math, action and reaction, to make a 10,000 tonne ship go from rest to 100,000 KM/sec which is 1/3rd light speed, we have to throw 10,000 tonnes of reaction mass backwards at 1/3rd light speed, of course such a ship would weigh 20,000 tonnes at the start of the journey, so you’d get much lower top speed, and we still haven’t allowed anything for slowing down.

Rockets just won’t give you the delta vee, but maybe a future tech 1,000 metre long rail gun firing iron slugs (plenty of iron in the universe) would work, but I’d be surprised if any tech gave you more than 1/30 C slug velocity, so that’s your maximum ship speed, so your 3 year journey to Alpha Centauri just became a 30 year journey, add real physics and we’re getting closer to a 120 year journey, we are already into a “generation ship” or “hypersleep” in a tiny 10 Kton craft which just won’t hold that many people.

Your ship also happens to be a potent weapon firing iron slugs rearwards towards the departure zone at 3% of C.

OK, photons have mass, so an *immensely* powerful laser would provide a higher top speed, we could in theory get up to our 30% C with it, eventually, but the thrust would be miniscule, so acceleration would be miniscule, so probably the ship would be in thrust 100 of the journey, accelerate, flip, decelerate, with the torch never going out.

Again, it’s a hell of a weapon.

How are you going to power it?


You only have a 10 Ktonne ship, even a horribly efficient fusion reactor is going to have to be *big* and *big* things are fuel hungry.

Fusion might be good enough to power an in system ship, but for interstellar, nope, not enough.

Before I go any further hark back to WW2 and a single british destroyer being hooked up to an indian town to power the electric grid, we are talking these levels of disproportionality, even a in system only fusion powered ship is going to be the most powerful thing anywhere in human space, we could name the first such efficient big fusion reactor the ghawar, because it is on that sort of energy scale.

So if fusion ain’t enough, the next step is direct conversion of mass to energy, now we are getting somewhere, (the *simple* star trek food replicator, tea, earl gray, would have to be able to wield and control more energy than a fusion reactor) now we have a potential energy source good enough for interstellar travel, and there is enough energy in that single cup of star trek earl gray to wipe all life from the surface of planet earth.

Now SF starts talking about interstellar trade, which is about as sensible and likely to show a profit as flying human excrement from London to Sydney in a fleet of SST Concorde tankers for processing and disposal…. the journey itself already involves conversion between mass and energy and sufficient quantities of same that there isn’t a single thing that it would be worthwhile to ship… data might be but a big fusion powered laser beam could be modulated to send that….

But as we know from everything else, if mass conversion *is* enough to power powered ballistic interstellar travel, that is no reason at all to assume that it is powerful enough for the next faster method, “hyperspace”, because everything else we know for a fact says faster = more energy used.

At this point even “hard” SF invokes “made up magic” like zero point energy cells (point the phasers at the dilithium crystals scotty) and hyperspace and FTL communications and so on.

It doesn’t have to be so.

It is entirely possible that the *only* way to travel between stars is in “death star” sized artificial worlds that take tens of thousands of years to make the journey, and which don’t care if they arrive or not, being self sufficient as they are.

And of course “nanotechnology” the way it is invoked in SF of necessity must come after cheap and efficient fusion and before practical mass conversion, it simply is not possible for it to be anywhere else on this scale.

So a solar system spanning civilisation *WILL* have fusion and *MIGHT* have nano, an interstellar *capable* civilisation *WILL* have nano and *WILL* have mass conversion, and *MIGHT* have something else beyond that.

There is a very important principle here, and it is the “if wishes were horses, nobody would walk” principle, back in the real world we have what we know for a scientific fact, that is stuff we can do today, and that gives us certain channels of research.

Yes, I get the FICTION part of SF, but fiction is not fantasy, and if you are going to write a science fantasy story fill your boots.

If *anything* arrives in the solar system before we get out, better hope it is a friendly and careful god, because god it will be, simply because of the energy levels at its command.

interstellar battle fleets crewed by tough as fuck wimminz marines is utter bullshit, by definition none of it can ever be possible, by definition anything capable of interstellar travel will have nano, and with nano no base human, male of female, is going to be worth anything as a fighting force.

Nothing is, interstellar warfare itself is not going to be anything like SF, the very smallest ship capable of interstellar travel can basically obliterate the enemy, just do not decelerate and head for the enemy home planet at ramming speed.

A 10,000 tonne ship doing 100,000 KM/sec has the same energy as a 100,000,000 tonne ship doing 10 KM/sec, and that’s approaching dinosaur killer territory.

At these sorts of speeds simple iron rods or balls from the MK1 fusion powered rail gun powered ship make the most powerful space weapons imaginable, fuck off with all your bitchin starfighter pilots and AI controlled missiles and shit, just *fill* space with 1 to 10 Kg iron slugs doing 10,000 KM/sec… *nothing* will survive, no “armour” or “shields” or anything else, nothing made of matter will survive, game over man.

Of course, I am NOT saying that mankind cannot progress, cannot discover / invent cheap and efficient fusion, then cheap and efficient nano, then cheap and efficient mass conversion, anything is possible given enough time and resources.

I wouldn’t even begin to venture a guess at how long it would take, if I had to I’d say of the order of 1,000 years for each successive stage, so you *may* live to see the first fusion plants, but you’ll be dead a thousand years before it’s as easy as briggs and stratton or RC model airplane stuff, and don’t forget your nano will have to come after that, so forget your anti ageing nano and shit allowing you to live forever to see it all.

So, brutally, the next 100 years is going to be based solidly on the science and physics we can do today.

That’s not good.

We can already make computer chips that are bottlenecked by the time it takes for the electrical signal (not light speed, but not too far off) to cross the silicon from one part to another, apart from that they are *superbly* efficient in watts per cubic millimeter terms at turning electrical energy into thermal energy, apart from that our software is really going nowhere fast, there aren’t any quantum leaps in processing power or ability on the horizon as we speak.

We can already make physical things to incredibly fine tolerances (hard disk platters for example) if we choose to and we can approach the physical limitations of the materials easily enough, and again there aren’t any quantum leaps on the horizon that would allow us to make space elevators or SF battleship hulls or anything else.

We can already make things so fast that the process itself cannot really be speeded up because the materials themselves won’t allow it, so the only delays are in material transit and storage between one process and the next, and thanks to software and shit we have cut that down too.

We are already reasonable efficient at all sorts of things like electrical power generation and distribution, again, lacking a quantum leap that isn’t on the horizon in materials science to give us both superconductors and superinsulators at ambient temps.

Yes, you can make the argument that 100 years ago when electric power was in its infancy, nobody could have predicted the internet and silicon chips and laser, yup, all well and good, but it cuts both ways, nobody could predict it, so there was no assumption that such magic could exist or would come along in time to avert some entirely visible crisis.

So what CAN we predict, based solely on what we KNOW today?

It’s actually not that hard, if your brush is broad enough.

We can predict that humans are shit at making stuff, but great at consuming stuff, but not great at showing any intellect or selectivity in what should be produced and consumed.

We can predict that robots are great at making stuff, ergo they are also extremely great at consuming stuff, and since they don’t have an intellect or selectivity they’ll do whatever you want.

We can predict that a *lot* of so called knowledge based stuff, lawyering and management and so on, can be done at least as well in software.

We can predict the present, that basically 95% of the human race serve no purpose at all except as dumb consumers, and they can only consume stuff in the first place because of artificial economic systems that support their mcjobs in the first place.

Only 5% of the human race is productive, and they are carrying the other 95%.

We can predict that barring any unforseen quantum leap changes, the next 50 years is likely to be more of the last 50 years, and we can predict that if there are any unforeseen quantum leap changes, there is a >99% probability that they will simply accelerate this straight into the next wall at mach 5, and the next change in society will come hard and fast and unpleasant.

So we would appear to be facing two choices.

  1. Society is a sinking ship, and as fast as some members of society manage to fix some leaks, other members of society see that as an excuse to take on more cargo, the end result is the ship is going to continue to sink slowly.
  2. Society is a sinking ship, and someone inadvertently blows a hole in the bottom of it (maybe the quantum change making us hit a wall at mach 5) and the end result is the ship is going to sink fast.

*NOBODY* has a plan b, much less a plan a, everyone is pissing in the river upstream of where everyone else draws drinking water from, even though everyone now knows the river is just a big loop with no beginning and no end.

Again, barring an unpredictable quantum leap in something (that may do as much harm s good) this means the only tools we have at our disposal to fix this mess are the tools we have today, and fact is most of them are being used to take more cargo on the sinking ship, because only the cargo fees pay for the repairs below water line and the pumps.

So the only thing we can do with the tools and technology we have now is depopulation or two tier societies, but two tiers based on productivity, not on wealth as it is now… or maybe both.

The current status quo with the rule of law in europe has I reckon about 10 years to go, and by that I mean there will be a transition from water cannon and tear gas and so on to flying lead and dead bodies littering the streets…

My take is that so much 19th and 20th century tech infrastructure is being left to decay because someone has gamed it all out, it’s worn out and fucked and it can’t be economically hardened against civil riots, so don’t bother, let the riots happen, let the infrastructure collapse, and let the cards lie where they fall, it’s not like anything coming out of school nowadays can make a decent bomb or successfully collapse a dam, because they are all as thick and uneducated as shit.

There is “upset” around here because a 42 year old mum got two years jail time for having sex with a 15 year old boy despite him saying no etc etc, the upset is that if a man had done it to a girl the charge would have been rape of a minor, nobody is upset by the fact that on the day the 42 year old woman, who DOESN’T HAVE A FUCKING JOB, but does have a house provided by the state and everything else, took a cocktail that included vodka and cocaine and beers and some fucking cannabis too…. oh yeah, the poor bitch is apparently a bit retarded too, so says the defence… not her fault, being a victim herself.

It’s life Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, we come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill.

The system we have is eating itself from within.

The ship is sinking.

It’s being fucked faster than it’s being unfucked.

Science and technology don’t offer us a way out, and magical possible future rainbow unicorn shit science / tech solutions are as likely to trigger the problem as make it go away.

Old Faithful webcam is STILL down.

My NAS box has a vast and varied technical library that runs to 69,000+ files in 9,800+ folders and 243 gigs of content… pdf and all sorts, eg the compleat distiller, pdf 12 MB, I don’t care if the WAN goes down or the power grid goes out, at least, I don’t care because it won’t cut off my access to all that good shit.

Not SF, just today’s tech, used properly.




  1. Most the new “tech” coming out today either makes me yawn or grow concerned. Often its just adding unnecessary complexity in the name of convenience. But that also introduces greater numbers of failure modes and higher replacement costs. Maybe thats the point.

    Im relatively young and grew up with automated systems right and left, but I never got on the bandwagon. My dad always woke my ass up early on the weekends to help him fix up the house and maintain the vehicles. It gave me an appreciation for simple, robust tech.

    I raise an eyebrow at all these iot appliances and keyless entry homes. As if these cant be hacked or gamed. If the power goes out and the battery is dead, my key still works.

    Give me a society built by engineers

    Comment by Undefined — July 9, 2017 @ 4:16 am

  2. Crestron/Lutron/iLight/etc systems make me die a little inside

    Get over yourself and have a normal light switch

    Comment by justwanttocommentblog — July 9, 2017 @ 8:22 pm

  3. Speaking of science fiction and engineering:

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein

    Comment by tweell — July 10, 2017 @ 2:20 am

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